Hong Kongers who left to live in the UK are being blocked from accessing £2.2bn in pension assets, according to research from activist group Hong Kong Watch. 

The UK offered Hong Kong residents in 2019 a path to full citizenship if they held British National Overseas (BNO) status.

Residents are normally allowed to reclaim pension funds if they move abroad permanently.

But the Hong Kong government said emigration under BNO was not a valid reason to withdraw the cash early.

Sam Goodman Hong Kong Watch's group director of policy and advocacy on 12 April said on social media: "The UK Gov is rolling out the red carpet for #HK officials on Monday that are punishing #HongKongers who have moved to the UK under the #BNO visa by denying them access to over £2.2bn of their pension savings. It's punitive, has no legal basis, & is akin to state sponsored theft."

HSBC is among banks, insurers and institutions which offer pensions under the Hong Kong mandatory provident fund retirement saving system.

The FT reported on this issue here yesterday (12 April).